/\/ Codex \/\

John de Rivaz John at longevb.demon.co.uk
Mon Oct 16 06:03:28 EST 1995


Special International Report
Changing the Rules:
How Rewriting the Codex Alimentarious
Could Change the Way We Get Dietary Supplements
                                     
                          by Suzanne Harris, J.D.

Editor's Note:

     Almost entirely unnoticed and unreported by magazines and 
organizations that are interested in health freedom, the little known 
Codex Alimentarious Commission in Rome is studying a proposal from the 
German Government that could radically change the availability of dietary 
supplements to consumers around the world. 
     Because of the potential significance of these proposals, Health 
Keeper's Journal has prepared this special international update in order 
to keep our readers fully informed on issues and events that matter.

     Kurt Donsbach

K.D.: Suzanne, can you explain to our readers how the Codex works and why 
its activities are so important?

S.H. Yes. It is important to remind our readers that in the post- GATT 
world, some very important things occur at the international level. Under 
the new GATT, all member nations including the United Nations and most of 
Europe must avoid creating trade barriers that impede the flow of food 
stuffs and other food products in international trade. Under the new GATT, 
each nation must review its regulations that govern the manufacture and 
importation of foods so that its rules conform to, are "harmonized" with 
the new international standards. Each country can either accept the Codex 
Alimentarious standards for food quality, food labeling and food content 
and food manufacturing standards, or create its own standards provided the 
standards created by the member country are created with conformity with 
GATT standards on cost/benefit analysis and GATT standards on creating and 
reviewing scientific data in order to engage in risk assessment.

K.D. It sounds like it would be much easier for any country that has 
signed the new GATT treaty to just accept the Codex Alimentarious 
standards rather than to try to create its own standards.

S.H.:     Yes, not only is it easier but its safer too. If any nation 
attempts to create its own standards rather than simply follow the Codex 
standards, that nation runs the risk of being sanctioned (fined) by the 
new World Trade Organization until its standards are brought into 
conformity with the new GATT requirements. We need to remember here that 
the sanctions can be quite severe. Whole sections of a nation's economy 
can be penalized until that nation's regulations are brought into 
conformity with GATT.

     The whole GATT process makes the content of the Codex Alimentarious 
very, very important to the people of each nation that has joined the new 
World Trade Association by signing GATT. 

K.D.: When the United States signed the new GATT treaty and the treaty was 
then ratified by Congress, didn't the Congress know what the Codex 
Alimentarious contained? In other words, didn't we know what we were 
agreeing to before we signed and ratified the agreement?

S.H.:     Yes and no. I'm sure that the leadership of both parties in 
Congress knew what the Codex said at the time that Congress ratified the 
new GATT treaty. However, what we signed onto was more of an agreement to 
engage in a particular type of rule making process rather than an 
agreement to follow certain substantive rules that were set in concrete. 
We knew when we signed GATT that things like the content of the Codex 
Alimentarious will inevitably change over time. What few of us expected 
was that the Codex would start to change so rapidly. Lets take a little 
time here to talk about how changes are made to the Codex. The Codex 
Commission itself consists of "delegates". Each delegation represents 
either a country or an international organization. The Commission has 
meetings every two years. Any delegation can submit a proposal to change 
the content of the Codex. That proposal for change then goes through a 
long period of review and each delegate is entitled to submit formal 
comments in response to the new proposal. Votes on new proposals are taken 
at various stages in the process.

Eventually new parts of the Codex are worked out and made a formal part of 
the official Codex Alimentarious.

D.K.: Has something happened at the Codex Commission meeting that is 
especially significant?

S.H.: Yes. The German delegation which represents the German government 
has proposed that an entirely new set of rules be established that would 
govern dietary supplements. The German proposal is called the "Proposed 
Draft Guidelines for Dietary Supplements (Vitamins and Minerals)." Within 
the German proposal are suggestions that: 
1)   no dietary supplement be sold for prophylactic (preventive) use or 
for therapeutic use. Any dietary supplement for prophylactic or 
therapeutic use would automatically be classified as a drug. 
2)   No dietary supplement sold as a food could exceed potency (dosage) 
levels set by the commission, 
3)   Codex regulations for dietary supplements would become binding. This 
means that as to dietary supplements the escape clause in GATT that gives 
a nation the ability to set its own standards within the GATT rules would 
be eliminated. And an additional hidden effect would be 
4)   That all new dietary supplements would automatically be banned unless 
and until they went through a Codex approval process. 

K.D.:     This sounds very dangerous. Is there anything that we can do 
about this? Should we all write to Congress?

S.H.: On the surface of things, there is very little that we can do about 
this. We have effectively given away most of our sovereignty as a nation 
on this issue. Congress no longer has the last word here. Instead of a 
legislative body writing and reviewing the legislation that matters, these 
vital decisions will all be made by an international commission. The 
membership of this international commission consists of: country 
delegations which as a practical matter means that the entire United 
States delegation is being represented by a single delegate from the FDA 
and a few pre- approved delegates from international organizations. I've 
looked at a partial list of the international organizations that are 
allowed to send delegates. Over ninety percent of these international 
organizations are manufacturers organizations. The only "consumer" 
organization that I saw listed was the International Organization of 
Consumers Unions. This means that the general public is virtually 
unrepresented at this vital process. Your pet dog or cat has more say on 
what he eats for dinner in your kitchen than you or I have in this 
international process.

     Even the FDA has relatively little say on certain key aspects of this 
process. for example, the United States delegation was the only 
nation-state delegation that opposed the idea of setting up new dietary 
supplement standards within the Codex. We were outvoted so the process of 
beginning go re-write the Codex on dietary supplements has started over 
our protest. The Codex Commission is presently reviewing the German 
proposal at what the Codex Commission calls the "step three stage." The 
step three stage is very important because it is the point at which a 
proposal is formalized and written responses and debate over the specific 
features of the new proposal are discussed.
 
     I doubt writing to Congress will do much good at this point. It is 
doubtful too that writing to the FDA will help much although writing to 
the FDA is a good place to start doing the things that we have to do in 
order to try to defeat this project.

D.K.:     Can you tell us step by step what we can and should do? 

S.H.: Yes. First:
     1)   Write or fax to Dr. Robert Moore, Office of Special 
Nutritionals, HFS-356, 200 C Steet, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20204, fax: 
(202)205-5295 before October 18, 1995.
          Tell Dr. Moore that you are opposed to 
               1)   making the Codex standards for dietary supplements 
binding, 
               2)   setting International potency/dose limitations on 
dietary supplements; 
               3)   classifying dietary supplements for 
prophylactic/preventive use in drugs; 
               4)   any rule or regulation that would result in 
automatically classifying new dietary supplements as drugs. [Note: Your 
fax or letter will be most effective if received by the FDA before October 
18th, however, you may still be able to make some difference if you write 
or fax before November 30th.]

     I should add that there is much more that needs to be done here. We 
need to establish a serious study group that takes a thorough and hard 
look at: 
1)   the new European Union regulations on dietary supplements, 
2)   thoroughly studies all the various Codex and GATT related 
international proposals regarding dietary supplements and studies the new 
structure that are being put into place to design this and other 
international regulations.

Coming up in the next issue of Health Keeper's Journal:
New International proposals to regulate the labeling of dietary 
supplements.

c.1995 The Health Keepers Journal and the Law Loft
Notice and warning regarding copyright restrictions: no reproduction or 
excerpt of this material may be made, reproduced or circulated unless the 
material is identified as an article from the Health Keeper's Journal, 
volume 2, number 10, october 1995 written by Suzanne Harris, J. D. of the 
Law Loft

For further information about subscriptions to the Health Keeper's Journal 
and about reprints of this and other Health Keepers Journal articles about 
health legislation and/or GATT, write or fax to: 
Health Keeper's Journal
880 Canarios Court
Ste. 210
Chula Vista, California 91910
FAX (619) 482-4485?



Saul Kent read the article by Suzanne Harris which I posted in message 
number 47868 in this newsgroup, and he will be interviewing her soon for 
an in depth article on the subject of Codex and the international threat 
it poses to our health freedom. Saul wants me to link with as many people 
as possible in different countries for the purpose of forming an 
international coalition to oppose the Codex Alimentarious Commission's 
efforts to destroy our health freedom. I am in touch with some people in 
other countries, most notably Canada, Norway and England, but need 
assistance with this. You'll understand what I'm talking about if you read 
message 47867. We haven't reported on this threat yet in the magazine 
because we only recently found out about it through a leak on the other 
side who called my attention to it. Although Suzanne's article 
specifically relates the Codex activities to the US, what she reports 
applies just as much to Canada, and the implications are chilling. I urge 
everyone reading this to go back and read message number 47867 and help 
get a threat going on it because its a threat that no one can afford to 
ignore.

 Mark Jensen (mjensen at crl.com) wrote:
 
Big feud between CERI and LEF. They have been going at it for years. You 
can get CERI's version in some of the back issues of their newsletter. For 
those of us who don't have access to this material, could you please post 
a brief summary of CERI's version. Thank you.




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